Offline by Matthew Santoro

Good Monday morning Motionographer readers. Maybe you are confused as to why we are starting this week out by posting a trailer for some big budget sci-fi movie. Would it make you more interested to know that this trailer for a short film was produced entirely by a single person?

Matthew Santoro, a Senior VFX artist who has worked on large scale productions such as “300” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, is the sole talent behind this epic sci-fi piece. Santoro draws upon his vfx background to make guerrilla style filming look like a highly polished Hollywood flick, yet due to this being his own creation there is a unique life to his aesthetics and effects. In his own words, “I directed, edit, animated, composed, built costumes/ props and bled over this thing for almost 2 years”. Santoro has the creative versatility and drive most wistfully desire, a combination of skills that leads us to expect big thing from him in the future. First and foremost will be the opportunity this short has opened for him, which is to create a feature length film based in the same world.

I got a chance to ask the man himself a few questions about this project and his plans for the future.

I’m guessing that this started as a one man production and has since grown. How many others are now involved in this production?

Well the trailer that you just watched was basically a one-man production. I had to put the thing together from the ground up. Of course with a little help from my friends. Which meant anyone willing to deal with the consequences of possible getting busted for sneaking onto rooftops in the middle of the night. There were parts of this project that I literally filmed in my apartment using cardboard boxes, cheap hardware store lights, and a half-broken fog machine. I built the costumes using model parts and superglue. Most of the time my actors where doubling as crew even my dad (Charlie Santoro) who was playing that scary guy with the silver hair.

Do you know have any financial backers for your project now that it is a feature length film?

After this spec trailer came out and I released it on the Internet the response was pretty overwhelming. Everyone thought it was a movie that was already in production. I just made this thing to get people interested in backing it. I am currently in negotiations with a couple of companies who are hopefully going to help me move forward. Everything is still up in the air as of right now.

How did your process begin? Did you have a world built as a story with a plan to showcase only a small window with the short. Or did this world evolve and grow as you worked on the short?

I would say that the world definitely evolved as I worked on the short. I had an idea for what it was I wanted to accomplish at first but that idea slowly started to grow into something bigger as the months went on. I would get time off from work, film on an occasional weekend, take it back, and edit it. Something new would pop into my head and because it was purely independent I had the luxury of experimentation. So I would change things based on the direction in which it was headed. It’s almost like painting a picture on a blank canvas. That canvas is yours and there are no rules and nobody can tell you what to do. So you have something in mind and once you start painting that thing turns into something completely different. Like a reaction to a reaction if that makes any sense.

How close are you to a finished piece? Is there any release date that we can all mark down?

I look at this spec trailer like a finished piece in a way. 1.5 years of blood sweat and tears for 3 minutes of sci-fi geekiness. At the end of the day it served its purpose and a door has been opened to turn it into a feature length film. Now that the door has opened I have to figure out what hallway to walk down, and all those hallways have other doors in them that lead to other hallways with other doors. So with that being said no release date has been set. I will keep you posted.

About the author

Jon Saunders

internet surfer/designer extraordinaire



fantiddlyastic. its worth watching frame by frame for all of the beautiful fleeting moments. The guy running and his mouth sorta turns into an animal’s?! very cool.
I love how blue sky the industry is: If you make something exceptional, people will notice and give you the chance to do more.


Over all superb video.
But i just can’t get over the twitchy editing. It does go with the theme and story to certain extent, but after about 20 dozenth time I think it just gets in the way of great shots.


Dito. Too much flashy editing, it looks like he wanted to hide everything.


always very inspiring to hear stories like this, great work!!


Matt! Great work man. This piece if very you.

Matthew Santoro

awesome thanks man!


Really really nice work.
And very encouraging – good to see that someone can make it from their basement : )

I second the twitchiness of the editing – maybe a bit to much.


Great work!!!!! It’s never easy to achieve your goals so BRAVO for your success…. Great job Matt!!

Comments are closed.